Unlike last year, where everyone knew that Uncle Mo was the clear cut favorite and would win the Breeders Cup Juvenile race., this year’s version has it’s favorite, but not to the same extent. There are several horses in this potential field that could win this Grade 1 event for two year old colts and geldings.
Churchill Downs – Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) – 1 1/16 miles – Dirt – $2,000,000
Date: November 5, 2011
Estimated Post Time: 5:25pm EST
1. Take Charge Indy – James Graham – 30/1
2. Dullahan – Kent Desormeaux – 8/1
3. Crusade – Julien Leparoux – 12/1
4. Drill – Martin Garcia – 8/1
5. Hansen – Ramon Dominguez – 10/1
6. Prospective – Luis Contreras – 30/1
7. Creative Cause – Joel Rosario – 7/2
8. Speightscity – Corey Nakatani – 20/1
9. Alpha – Garrett Gomez – 15/1
10. Union Rags – Javier Castellano – 2/1
11. Daddy Long Legs – Ryan Moore – 12/1
12. Fort Loudon – Luis Jurado – 20/1
13. Optimizer – Robby Albarado – 15/1
Union Rags (KY) – Trainer Michael Matz
This colt will certainly be the favorite come post time. He basically took a similar route that Uncle Mo took last year en route to the BC Juvenile. With an extra race in between. He broke his maiden at Delaware Park by 1 3/4 lengths. Ok, so it wasn’t 14 1/2 lengths, but still an impressive debut. Next up, he won the Grade 2 Three Chimneys Saratoga Special Stakes at Saratoga by 7 1/4 lengths. On October 8, he won the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes by 5 1/4 lengths. This colt has made it look easy in his last two races, and is a perfect 3 for 3 heading to Churchill Downs.
Creative Cause (KY) – Trainer Mike Harrington
This gray Giant’s Causeway colt has raced four times and has won three of them. He broke his maiden first time out at Hollywood Park, then came back just three weeks later to take the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar. A month later, he would finish 2nd losing just a neck to Drill in a three horse finish in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity. He was involved in a bump and run with Drill and Majestic City. Majestic City actually finished the race in 2nd but was disqualified and put behind Creative Cause. This colt rebounded quite nicely in the Grade 1 Norfolk Stakes to defeat Drill 3 1/4 lengths. He could be the one colt that goes head to head with Union Rags. Unlike Union Rags, Creative Cause has raced at the 1 1/16 miles distance (Norfolk).
2011 Record: 4 Starts 3-1-0 (Won the Grade 1 Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita and Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes).
Crusade (KY) – Trainer Aidan O’Brien
This colt had a dismal debut at York on August 19th where he finished 8th losing by over 10 lengths. He never seemed to be into the race. He was brought back just 11 days later at Curragh and it was a completely different horse. He stalked the lead then took it over after 3 furlongs. He would never be threatened and won by 2 lengths. His first attempt in the group level was decent as he finished 4th beaten 2 1/2 lengths in the seven furlongs Group 3 Somerville Tattersall Stakes at Newmarket. The experience certainly helped for his next race, the six furlongs Group 1 Emaar Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket on October 8. He stalked the lead, for the first 1/2 mile, then took over half way down the stretch and won by 3/4 length. The BC Juvenile will be his first attempt on a dirt track and longer than 1 1/16 miles, but that doesn’t seem to bother O’Brien as he had the option of putting this colt in the Juvenile Turf and did not. He must believe he can run just as well off the turf.
2011 Record: 4 Starts 2-0-0 (Won the Group 1 Emaar Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket).
Drill (KY) – Trainer Bob Baffert
This Lawyer Ron colt had a horrific debut which saw him stumble out of the gate and never be a factor in a maiden special weight race on July 30 at Del Mar.. That’s about all you can say negative about him. He raced very well over his next three starts which included breaking his maiden, winning the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity and finishing 2nd in the Norfolk Stakes. He is the only who can stake claim that they defeated Creative Cause. Creative Cause stalked the early lead in the Norfolk on moderate fractions and too full advantage of it. He drew off to take the win. Drill was a few more lengths back but was clearly the second best horse. If he can get some pace in front of him in the Juvenile, he will be a force at the end.
2011 Record: 4 Starts 2-1-0 (He won the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity at Del Mar).
Dullahan (KY) – Trainer Dale Romans
Wasn’t able to break his maiden in three times in maiden special weight class (2nd, 5th and 3rd), nor the Grade 2 With Anticipation Stakes (3rd) at Saratoga, yet he wins the Grade 1 Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland. You have to love two year olds. Most times you never know what you will get. This will be the 4th straight race going 1 1/16 miles and he is getting better with each effort. There will be decent speed up front in this race, so expect to see him flying down the stretch yet again.
2011 Record: 5 Starts 1-1-2 (Won the Grade 1 Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland on October 8).
Hansen (KY) – Trainer Michael Maker
Another gray colt, from sire Tapit, hasn’t won the “bigger races” at the “bigger tracks”, but don’t let that fool you. This colt is good. He wired the field in his opener at Turfway Park by 12 1/4 lengths. He came back 15 days later to win the Bluegrass Cat Kentucky Cup Juvenile Stakes by 13 1/4 lengths. He has dominated the competition at Turfway Park. Now it’s time to see what he is all about on the big stage. The Bluegrass Cat Kentucky Cup Juvenile Stakes was 1 1/16 miles, so it shows he can take the lead and go the distance, but he was never threatened. The big question will be, can he go gate to wire with some pressure on the lead against higher caliber horses? Stay tuned.
2011 Record: 2 Starts 2-0-0 (He won the Bluegrass Cat Kentucky Cup Juvenile Stakes at Turfway Park on September 24).
Alpha (CA) – Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin
Alpha had a great debut at Saratoga on September where he won by 6 lengths in a maiden special weight race. He sat in the middle of the pack several lengths back, then exploded down the stretch and drew off for the win. In the Champagne Stakes, he was no match for Union Rags, who had it all his way with slower fractions on the front end and him sitting just behind. Alpha was clearly second best. This is a Bernardini colt, so he is bred to run longer distances. The additional 1/16 miles is not much more compared to the one mile Champagne, but it will allow him time to make his move from far back and be effective. If there is any kind of speed on the front end (Hansen etc), Alpha will be more dangerous.
2011 Record: 2 Starts 1-1-0 (He finished 2nd in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park).
Daddy Long Legs (KY) – Trainer Aidan O’Brien
The second colt entered into this race by O’Brien, that could have opted for the Juvenile Turf, but decided to try the dirt instead. He won his maiden opener going 7 furlongs on the turf at Gowran Park Racecourse on August 10. He had a bobbled start, took his position at the back of the field and slowly made his move as the race went on. He took off down the stretch and won by 1 1/2 lengths. His follow up race was the seven furlongs Group 2 One Call Insurance Champagne Stakes at Doncaster. He sat off the early lead and tried making a move down the lane, but was not able to keep pace and finished 4th losing by 2 1/2 lengths. As the same with his stablemate, a couple of races under his belt gave him race experience and maturity. His last race was the one mile Group 2 Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket on September 24. He once again stalked the early lead, made a move at the top of the lane, but this time he drove passed the leaders and drew away to win by 3 1/4 lengths. It was good to see that the additional distance helped this colt. The 1 1/16 miles should not affect him.
2011 Record: 3 Starts 2-0-0 (Won the Group 2 Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket).
Prospective (KY) – Trainer Mark Casse
The leading trainer from Woodbine looks to bring his Kentucky bred colt South to Churchill Downs. He finished 2nd in his opener after having no racing room while making a big move down the stretch. He came back less than a month later to win by a neck/ Two different racing styles shown in his first two races. His opener was a come from behind, the follow up was a sit just off the leader. That shows versatility and that should help him in this race. His last race was a win in the 1 1/16 miles Grade 3 Grey Stakes that saw him sit 4th after the 1st quarter mile, 3rd after the 1/2 mile, then took over the lead after 3/4 of a mile and he never gave it up. He won by two lengths.
2011 Record: 3 Starts 1-1-1 (Won the Grade 3 Grey Stakes at Woodbine).
Fort Loudon (FL) – Trainer Stanley Gold
Can Stanley Gold do it again in 2011? His impressive two year old filly Awesome Feather took the World by storm last year to win the BC Juvenile Fillies. He tries again this year with his colt, Fort Loudon. Also sired by Awesome of Course, this colt has won both of his races so far. He won the Florida Stallion Affirmed Stakes and Florida Stallion In Reality Stakes both at Calder Race Course. Last year, Awesome Feather won the filly versions of the same stakes races and went on to win at the Breeders’ Cup. It would be quite an accomplishment if Gold could pull it off.
2011 Record: 2 Starts 2-0-0
Take Charge Indy (KY) – Trainer Patrick Byrne
This A.P. Indy colt has been in the thick of things in each of his three races. He broke his maiden first time out at Arlington Park. He finished 2nd in the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity on September 10. He held the lead briefly down the stretch before being caught by Shared Property. Lost by a length. As the same with Alpha, he is bred for longer distances. The experience going 1 1/16 miles from the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity should help him going into this contest.
2011 Record: 3 Starts 1-1-0
Optimizer (KY) – Trainer D. Wayne Lukas
As the same with a few other horses looking to run in this race, he hasn’t won a stakes race, but has been in the money twice. With two year olds, the most important aspect to look for is progress. This English Channel colt won his maiden debut at Saratoga, then finished 2nd to State of Play in the Grade 2 With Anticipation Stakes almost a month later. He finished 3rd behind Dullahan and Majestic City in the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity. The BC Juvenile is the same 1 1/16 miles. He was 12th and last in the beginning of the Dixiana then made a really nice move down the middle of the stretch. He simply ran out of real estate. If Lukas stays with the same racing style, he will need more pace up front in order to be a serious threat. Look out for this horse when races become 1 1/8 miles or longer.
2011 Record: 3 Starts 1-1-0
Speightscity (KY) – Trainer Gary Contessa
Finished 4th in his maiden debut going 1 1/6 miles at Saratoga for $75,000 tag. He dueled inside for first 3/4 of a mile, but then tired. He came back 3 weeks later in a 1 1/8 miles maiden special weight and won by 11 1/2 lengths. Go figure! He sat off the early pace, made his move at the 3/4 mile and rode off under a hand ride. He might not have a graded stakes race to his credit heading into the BC Juvenile, but he has shown he can run at long distance.
2011 Record: 2 Starts 1-0-0